10 November 2021

SODAS researchers win the Tietgen Prize 2021


Denmark's oldest research award, the Tietgen Prize, has just been presented to two researchers affiliated with SODAS: Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen and Laura Alessandretti. They win the award on the basis of their research into digital learning and human movement patterns, respectively.

Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen and Laura Alessandretti.

With the Tietgen Prize comes DKK 500,000 – awarded to junior researchers within the business-oriented humanities and social sciences. This year, the award goes to Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen from Department of Economics, who conducts research into education policy and artificial intelligence, and Laura Alessandretti from DTU, who conducts research into movement and transport patterns, including during the corona epidemic. Both researchers are affiliated with the Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS).

Award sows new research seeds

36-year-old Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen is concerned with the effect of digital technology in teaching, the development of algorithms to identify weak pupils and the distribution of pupils to schools. In addition, he has contributed to the consequences of climate change for health and in the field of game-theoretical models of human behavior and social relations.

Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen is very honoured to receive the Tietgen Prize 2021, which will give his future research more muscles, he says.

"The award will enable me to build an even stronger network with research colleagues from the world and start new projects on digital learning funding," he emphasizes in the award statement's press Release (https://dseb.dk/aktuelt/prestigefyldt-pris-gaar-til-forskning-i-digitale-laeringsmidler-og-danskernes).

The award committee emphasized that Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen's research is socially relevant and innovative. He expands our knowledge in the field of education policy in particular. This is where Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen uses methods from econometrics and data science to conduct research into the effects of the use of digital technology in teaching, the development of algorithms to identify academically weak pupils as well as the distribution and intake of pupils.

Paving the way for mobility studies

The other award winner, Laura Alessandretti, conducts research into Computational Social Science – a rapidly growing field that tries to understand society through big data and machine learning. Laura Alessandretti is an expert in understanding people's patterns of movement. She studies the patterns via huge amounts of data and uses the physics, statistics, and computer science of complex systems. Among other things, this is useful when modelling epidemics and transport systems.

Laura Alessandretti is enthusiastic about the recognition of her studies, which includes analyses of the mobile phone data which the Danish authorities have used in the COVID-19 handling.

"I want to use the award to develop new work aimed at poorly understood aspects of mobility within navigation and routing. Understanding these aspects will be crucial for designing more efficient transport and sustainable cities, "she explains.